The effects of Covid-19 are not limited to public health: the economic ripples of this unprecedented crisis are bound to influence the world of work for years to come. While the challenges that businesses face everywhere are as numerous as they are serious, we are witnessing a positive trend developing — the global drive for digitalization. This is fuelled by the vast range of software solutions available on the market and is gaining considerable speed. The question is: who is pushing who?
Our experience shows us that in many companies, it’s the frontline workers, rather than their managers, who are the driving force behind the introduction of new business software. In our opinion, this is a hugely positive development because companies benefit from the democratization of digitization. The bottom-up approach puts employees at the center of digital strategy and is increasingly prevalent at companies across all kinds of industries. This is because teams “on the ground” can generally identify their own needs quickly, so when they are left to make their own decisions on which new software solutions to purchase, the process, on the whole, becomes agile and efficient.
Why Task Management Tools are Becoming Increasingly Important
Recent developments show the importance of digital transformation in the modern corporate environment. In the age of Covid-19, home office and virtual meetings have become the norm rather than the exception. While the exact composition of the future office remains unclear, a more flexible and distributed way of working will surely continue into the post-Covid era.
In times like these, digital task management tools for teams are gaining traction. They enable companies to structure collaborative work and track progress, even if colleagues work in different places. This type of smart software has become indispensable for project managers, who continue to organize projects and stay on top of things while working remotely. In short, task management tools allow organizations to increase productivity through the introduction of optimized and automated workflows.
The Difference Between a Top-Down and Bottom-Up Approach
While the need for specialized software is obvious, the path to purchasing is less clearly defined. With a top-down approach, instructions are generally delivered “from above,” i.e., from the firm’s management. This hierarchy provides structure — management provides all the guidelines, information, processes and tools relevant to employees. This is not a democratic approach. Team members could get the impression that their opinions count for little and that they are not being heard.
On the other hand, a bottom-up approach gives individual employees a high degree of freedom in decision making. This comes with the responsibility for the consequences of those decisions, which in turn promotes a proactive commitment to the common good of the team.
The bottom-up approach actively incorporates the ideas of employees. These individuals who would have had little or even no say in important business decisions under a traditional structure, would now have the opportunity to not only make decisions, but see that they are implemented. For us, the greater sense of trust and self-determination encourages employees to work more enthusiastically, and the result of this added motivation is increased productivity.
In our article on how to create an ideas-driven organization, we explained the potential of the “Idea-Driven Organization,” a theory that promotes constant innovation with the goal of staying a decisive step ahead of the competition. As a key part of this philosophy, the bottom-up approach enables a true culture of innovation, promoting the free exchange of knowledge and motivating employees to commit themselves to their company. This input is not without grounds as employees are invariably better-placed to assess which digital tools can push internal workflows to the next level.
At Meister, we see the bottom-up approach as vital to ensuring that companies find and implement the tools best-suited for their teams. The approach also reflects a contemporary management style that gives responsibility to committed and motivated employees.
Teamwork is essential for a smooth return to normality. Active participation increases satisfaction on all sides, especially in times of crisis, when decisions must be made quickly. We believe that management should refrain from making unilateral decisions and that management teams could benefit greatly from a more even distribution of tasks within the team. The results? Faster decisions, greater motivation among the colleagues involved, and more productivity overall.
Looking for a tool to make your business processes more efficient? Meister, with its many integrations to vital business solutions such as Spark, Microsoft Teams or Dropbox, can support you in your digital transformation step-by-step.